悠久星涼 (read ゆうきゅう の ほしすずし Yuukyuu no hoshi suzushi) made its debut on the first day of the 燿城夜祭 (Kagayaki Yomatsuri) concert in June 2023. It rounded up the thrilling and high energy final block and closed the live out with its more somber tune.
The song is composed together with lyrics by a vocaloidP known as baker. This is their first work in Cinderella Girls.
The song name is designed to pair with the title of the live, as both consists of kanji that are not normally read that way when put together. This sort of odd naming convention while not unique to this live, is a common thread between the two. The live name, Kagayaki Yomatsuri is like this
燿 （カガヤ Kagaya）- Usually read that way as verb 輝く, as a rare kanji form of it. It means "to shine or to sparkle" as a verb.
城 (キ ki) - Practically only read that way as 柵 (Fortress). Its meant to refer to the venue for the live 大阪城ホール (oosakajo hall) which uses the same kanji for castle
夜祭 (ヨマツリ Yomatsuri) - This is the normal reading and kanji for Night Festival
In the same way the closing theme song is
悠久 (ユウキュウ Yuukyuu) - This is the normal kanji and reading for permanence or perpetuity. Though, normally you would hear the more commonly used 永遠 (Eien) for eternal
(の) - There's an unwritten no in the phrase, this happens in certain names. A notable example of one is a train station in the Tokyo area called 高田馬場 (Takada no baba) which kanji is read 高田 (Takada) and 馬場 (Baba) when read separately. This is quite unusual for a song name though and I think it might be the only imas song in it's over 1000 song repertoire that has this linguistic quirk in the name
星 (ホシ Hoshi) - This is the normal reading and kanji for star
涼 (スズシ Suzushi) - This is a truncated version of the adjective cool/refreshing/clear/bright 涼しい, in this case the し from the adjective has been absorbed into the reading of the kanji for this song.
Put together the song title quite literally means "Permanence of distinct/refreshing star" and as we'll see shortly, symbolizes the memories forged in the live that we will leave with.
Standard disclaimer: Translations are not meant to be perfect English and comprehensible sentences to give the reader who may not understand Japanese a chance to derive meaning from the original literature with the original contextual clues, instead of having someone else already making that interpretation for you. Read the discussion under each section for some suggestion on the interpretations.
The final firework of the year
I looked up at them obsessively (didn't I?)
Already the end of summer has drawn close hasn't it?
The song begins with some nice and chill electric guitar. Not the highly overdriven electric guitar of metal songs, but the soft electronic twangs that lays the canvas for the song.
In some ways, kagayaki yomatsuri is a rather unique live, in that it's venue theme was designed to be the last song of the live (before the encore block). We have had prior experience with new songs being debuted on the very end or even during the encore such as the Jewelries 04 song 認めてくれなくたていいよ in cg_ootd which I also was obsessed with to the point I made an article on it, but this one is quite tailor made to be the ending theme of the live which is a first for all of Cinderella Girls.
It starts off with the scene of the fireworks, the concluding moments of the summer festival. Already it brings in and introduces themes of fixation to the events and the desire to embrace the present moment. While the firework festival in japan wasn't due for another month the song is symbolic of the conclusion of the live, and we will continue to draw this point out as the song progresses.
Maybe things like eternity
possibly don't exist
but these memories
won't disappear you know
This segment marks the start of an intense build up segment, filled with dramatic ascending chords not unlike the build up in Take me☆Take you, which was one of the things that initially made me thought the song was written by 坂部剛 (Sakabe Gou) who also made some other incredible songs like Last Kiss or the more recent Starry Night.
This part quite effectively summarizes the theme of the song. The concept of something lasting forever quite possibly isn't a thing, but the memories are the thing that we will hold on to forever.
Since the live theme is the idea of a night festival and the song is talking about the end of the summer festival, it's quite obvious what they were going for with this closing theme. While the time of the live is closing out, they hope that we continue to carry these memories with us forever. In some sense this is quite poetic.
Sparkling, this color. Gathered lights
No matter the time I can never forget
The sparkle of the colored stars
I swear under this sky
So when you take the equivalence of a night festival live with a song about the end of a festival, what then is the gathered lights sparkling in color?
They're the light sticks of the crowd and audience
Where the song lyrics really sticks the home run is how the lyrics can be interpreted from both the point of the cast who are singing the song and the audience who are singing or participating along with it. All of us hopefully want to remember this time together, the unique experience that staff, cast and audience have come together to create. The festival of lights.
Just like the official MV features fireworks with many bright and random colors, the dazzling variety of concert lights that fill the hall make up the colored stars that create the night sky. And so under the sky that we create, the cast together with the audience take a vow to not forget the scene that we have made together. Since this song is also an all member song with the final and complete 20+ members of the live taking the stage, the colors of everyone's penlights are similarly diverse in color, with some representing the 3 major types and others with their individual idol's colors. Collectively, these represent the colored stars.
In an instant it already past
The short days that felt long
Regardless of how much I recall, it makes my heart throb
When you're having a good time things can fly by so fast. In a blink of an eye the festival is over, and so is the live in the same regard. More than that its about what kind of feelings the memories invoke, be it about the live, or maybe even the song.
For me personally there's the element of nostalgia to it, the feeling of looking back fondly on the live, and also remembering the moment where the song debut and how this song completely changed the atmosphere of the venue. Those are some of the things that give me the nostalgia goosebumps.
The thing about laughing with you
or even crying
They turn into power to keep moving onwards
In a similar vein to hit election song "always", this song has that part going for it where it sounds like the lyrics are targeted at us, the producer from the idols singing it. This is really one of the parts where it stands out the most. That's partly because laughing and crying together are just some examples of the kind of things that go on during a live and sometimes that can be some of the most memorable moments too.
To me, a part of what makes this song really so good is how its lyrics were so well crafted and tailor made to this exact moment in time where we received it as a last song surprise. As we continue from here I really want us to notice how the song goes from some ordinary tune describing a festival to something that when interpreted in the context of that moment when it was sung to us, represents something so much more.
The thing that shined is, the precious bonds
tomorrow and hereafter
[they are] The sparkle in this throbbing heart
I'll swear on this star
It's not quite literally that the shining lights in the venue are the bonds, but rather the non-verbal communication through the light sticks is what forms the bond that connects us as the audience to the performers. Typically if any new performer is asked to share their thoughts, other than being nervous (throbbing heart) the other staple comment that is usually made is how beautiful the lights are. In some ways it both really cool and intimidating how Idolmaster has become a platform for all sorts of seiyuus from all ages experience the light show of a large and supportive crowd for the first time. People say it's the first impression that counts and for a lot of them where this is their first large performance, the crowd leaves as much of an impression as the performer leaves on the audience as well.
The sky is completely the symphony of flowers and stars
So one of the interesting points for this part is that the kanji for Firework 花火 is the same two characters as the kanji for Spark 火花 just reversed. They're really similar in that sense, and contextually here for this song they're referring to pretty much the same thing.
The symphony of flowers and stars that fill the sky refer to the spectacle of fireworks exploding in the night. Similarly, in a live, the concert lights dancing along to the songs is the spectacle in the sky. Yomatsuri was one of the few lives that have a center stage setup, and that means that every single camera view is almost guaranteed to show the lights of the crowd in the shot. When you look at the shots of the live through these cameras, the lights of the crowd turn into the moving sky behind them. The depth of field effect from the camera lens turns the vertical light sticks into a sea of stars moving in the distance. This is the symphony of flowers and stars.
At this point the song hits some unnatural higher tension notes for the phrase, and then enters an intense transition as we approach the end of the line.
The sound reverberating in the sky
The gradually disappearing tumult
The stars of summer spread out in the middle of the silence
After that intense buildup, the song cuts back to almost nothing, with the piano left to lead the room.
In case you had no clue what this section was about, this part has two instances of firework sounds played on the first line. That makes this the second song in Cinderella Girls to play firework sounds during the bridge, alongside ささのはに、うたかたに。 another song that I was super obsessed with. Considering both tracks were composed by completely different people and the exact commission order was also probably wildly different, it's quite the coincidence. Also both songs play the firework sound exactly twice total.
This is talking about the process of a firework coming to be, creating the noise that resounds through the night sky and slowly dissipates. Along with it the firework dissipates together, creating the spreading of the stars.
When the song goes silent, so does the crowd. While the lights don't dissipate, sometimes they hold still, frozen in time waiting for the song to pick up again. This part is quite cleverly in the chill part of the song, meaning there's likely a tangible difference in crowd movement from the previous part to now.
While this part marks the beginning of one of the best parts of the song, it's a bit of a shame that the game version has all of the highlights but none of the journey to get there. There's also no possible good way to cut this song with just how long it is so I'll try not to delve too much on it. Still, there's something to be said about having experienced the journey leading up to this because....
The certain thoughts and new memories
Even if "farewell" approaches
No matter what extent we are separated
With a tremendous buildup from 0 to 100 we go into an octave shift last chorus. This contrast with the previous two choruses is what delivers the impact of intensity. Despite the relatively chill and laid back nature of the song, the sheer intensity of the chorus really makes you want to sing it out loud.
Remember that the whole time we've been talking about a night festival, and yet in this section we address the idea of separation and farewell drawing near. This part has a greater symbolic implication for the live analogy, since this is quite literally the last song and the time to say goodbye is approaching as the song draws itself to its conclusion. Sometimes after the end of a live we don't know how long it will be until we can see our idols again. For some cases it can be even years...
Sparkling, this color. Gathered lights
No matter the time I can never forget
The sparkle of the colored stars
I swear under this sky
Due to the change in vocal pitch, this section also is far more intense than the initial chorus. The final line also takes a 4 beat break for an instrumental variation right before the verb To Swear, giving some pause and time to take in the line and adding that little bit of tension to the words. Then the song ends on a vocal note different from the one in the first chorus. This one is a note that isn't on the main chord progression for the chorus, which creates this extra strain and tension to the words.
Chaining in from new lyrics to the original first chorus, it adds on and develops significance to these words. Looking at the final chorus set as a whole allows us to derive the full message:
"These thoughts and memories of the gathered lights sparkling in this color... No matter what extent we are separated, even if farewell approaches regardless of time and space I can never forget the sparkle of the colored stars. This I swear under this sky"
This is a vow to remember. One to cherish the moment we have shared in this very instant. That the new memories that we have forged will be carried with us even as we move on from the festival. This is the promise to remember Kagayaki Yomatsuri, and the producers that made the sky that night. The eternal lights of the night festival.
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